As most of us in the industry do, I routinely review Ad Age to keep up with the latest news, trends, and creative thinking in branding and advertising. Sometimes I laugh, oftentimes I ponder. But rarely do I tear up and have the immediate urge to share a message that is so compelling and important today. The subject matter – online bullying. The brand, Sprite.
I’ll be the first and probably not the last to say that the deliverer of this message was a bit unexpected. I typically don’t think of Sprite as a carrier of such a deeply sensitive subject. But it is a refreshing move to see them invest some of their marketing budget on something so many can relate to and spread an important message, as opposed to a sole focus on popping a top and pouring over ice.
Sprite took a bold move initiating a “love not hate” campaign to face online bullying called #iloveyouhater. The story, and the commercial you will see, is comprised of a young man who is unexpectedly confronted by those he antagonized online. Each wearing a shirt that has his words of hate directed at them. A few step forward from the crowd and read his words back to him, and it is only then he realizes they are HIS words…and then the group surrounds him. I want you to watch this for yourself as opposed to me telling you the outcome.
It made me feel hope, connection, love – and it made me feel a bit differently about Sprite as a brand. I don’t drink soda. But their powerful message left me feeling connected to a product I typically do not think about.
One of the things that stood out to me was how Sprite chose to stand up for something that was meaningful to them as brand, and yet has zero to do with selling product. It made me think of them from a perspective of what they stand for, and as much more than a bubbly beverage. The brand has sent a strong message. They believe in people, who feel, love, care, and love, and they want to foster this kind of community.
In a broader sense, your brand is more than a product or service. It can be bigger than that if you choose to reveal a deeper insight. The words and feelings that are used in relation to your brand must go beyond the words on a package, and how you as a brand choose to face or relate to them is up to you – and your marvelous marketing company.
Tell me what you think. How did you feel?